Our aim in teaching English is to encourage a love of literature and an appreciation of imaginative, original and expressive writing.
English at the School is designed to be accessible to all pupils, regardless of their first language, at the same time as providing stretch and interest. The subject is not just about reading and writing, although these core skills are explicitly developed. English plays a key role in promoting intellectual curiosity and academic attainment across the curriculum and emphasis is placed on accuracy and discernment in the use of the English language.
The subject’s particular suitability for discussing moral, social, historical and philosophical concerns is celebrated and explored at all levels, and this can be particularly exciting in a school where so many different cultures converge. The style of teaching embraces many of the arts, and pupils will often examine a painting or music, for example, as a way to enhance their enjoyment of literature.
Each year-group follows a similar pattern through the academic year, and pupils can expect to encounter poetry, drama, fiction and non-fiction in many forms, as well as practice in public speaking and presentation. We exercise our independence robustly, and the small class sizes mean that texts can often be chosen with the pupils’ own interests and tastes in mind at the same time as broadening their own horizons.
The B1 and B2 years follow a two-year course of study towards GCSE public examinations in both English Literature and English Language. Exam results are very strong. Those choosing to take public examinations at A Level will enjoy a rich and demanding course in English Literature, again designed around the interests of the group. The A Level is taken over two years, with exams at the end of each year.
The School’s creative writing magazine, Bits and Pieces, will be re-launched in September 2013, as will a debating society. Both these opportunities provide all pupils with an opportunity to share their stories, poems and ideas in an exciting way. Creative writing is also encouraged for the School’s own Brackenbury Awards.
The School play is produced each year, often performed in the spring term, and is open to all pupils who wish to take part, whether as an actor or in a technical capacity. The next production will be an adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Set in a boarding school, the play follows the awakening of Miranda, the daughter of Dr Prosper the absent but terrifying headmaster. The play will include original music composed by the pupils. The following year, the School play will be a musical romp about the life and times of the English diarist, Samuel Pepys.
Trips to the theatre and other cultural events are organised whenever possible.
D Group is taught by Janet Poppe (with support from teaching assistant Philippa Brown)
C, B and A Groups are taught by Head of English and Drama Simon Larter-Evans